English poem about death

Deer Skull


I keep placing my hands over
my face, the fingertips just
resting on the place where I feel
my eyebrows and the fine end
of a bone. My eyes are covered
with the blood of my hands, my
palms hold
my jaws. I do this at dinner.
My daughter asks
Are you all right?
and by a common miracle
when I smile
she knows I am.


I ask her what she will do
after we eat. Sleep she
tells me. But I will clean
the deer skull, wash it.

To you

How will it taste — the beer the gravedigger
will drink after bestowing your dirt coat?
What will he say — you keeled the outrigger
too south, & when the breakers rolled, no boats
heard your Mayday? & will he ask his friends
at the bar — if someone calls a Mayday
& there is no one at the other end
of any radio, did Kevin A.
González really exist? O second
person, what would you do without you? Where
would Kevin A. González hide? Our bond
is over. The red of the rockets’ glare

The dead

Our business is with fruit and leaf and bloom;
though they speak with more than just the season's tongue —
the colours that they blaze from the dark loam
all have something of the jealous tang

of the dead about them. What do we know of their part
in this, those secret brothers of the harrow,
invigorators of the soil — oiling the dirt
so liberally with their essence, their black marrow?

But here's the question. Are the flower and fruit
held out to us in love, or merely thrust
up at us, their masters, like a fist?

Stray dogs in fall

The small white mutt of my
Unsure Self trails the masterless
Dog of the Dying World,
watching him
lope the endless block
of yards he knew before his
birth‚... I imitate his muffled bark
& snuffling breath, as round
& round
we trot as one
through rustling browns
of the dying world.

For it's come to me
now that a dog sniffing round
for the perfect smell, & a place
to pee
in the chilly breeze,
is the Rudiment of Life.